Blues battle back to bag the three points at Fratton Park against Portsmouth
Southend United produced another sensational performance away at Portsmouth to earn another hard fought victory against Pompey, coming back from 1-0 down – as they did last season – to register a 2-1 win.
A first half goal from Ryan Leonard and a strike mid-way through the second by Joe Pigott sealed a fantastic win for Southend, who finished the game with ten men following Barry Corr's late sending off.
Leonard's tap in got Blues back on level terms, before Pigott's deflected attempt sealed the three points for the visitors to take back to Essex.
Following Gary Deegan's sending off at Oxford United a week prior, the Irishman was replaced in midfield by Michael Timlin, otherwise, Phil Brown's team was the same as the victory at the Kassam Stadium, Brown sticking with the 4-4-2 formation that was so successful.
The first shot of the game came in the opening minute. Pompey's Andy Barcham wriggled free of his marker before taking a shot that was comfortable for Dan Bentley in the Southend goal.
In truth, I was a tepid opening 15 minutes from both sides, despite a lot of activity in the final third for both teams, no real opportunities arrived.
However, on 24 minutes, the hosts took the lead. A terrific free kick into the box from Craig Westcarr was deep, Adam Webster's header was saved well by Bentley, but the ball cannoned back off Blues defender Adam Thompson and ended up into the back of the net.
But Blues battled back and equalised just four minutes later through Leonard. A deep, hanging ball from Ben Coker was headed back across goal by Worrall and Leonard tapped home from close range with his thigh, sparking wild celebrations in the end housing the Southend supporters.
And moments later Blues could have taken the lead. Pigott was given space and time to weigh up an attempt at goal, but his stinging drive from 25 yards was superbly tipped round the post by Paul Jones in the home goal.
It took a while for the game to re-ignite after the break, with the best attempt in the first ten minutes of the second 45 coming from the boot of Timlin, who spotted Jones off his line but the 'keeper saved the effort from the Southend midfielder.
And then, with just under 20 minutes of the game remaining, Blues had their goal. Impressive wing play from Worrall say his pull back find Pigott, and his powerful strike caught a deflection off Paul Robinson and bobbled past the stranded Jones.
Andy Awford made the changes in a bid to get his side back into the game, and Bentley did brilliantly to stop Robinson's downward header from close range before tipping a Danny Hollands long ranger round the post and then Jed Wallace's rising attempt, all in quick succession.
Pompey pushed Blues back as the minutes ticked by and home debutant Paul McCallum was also sent off for the hosts, but Blues held on for another terrific away performance and result.
Blues: Bentley; White (c), Thompson, Williams, Coker; Worrall, Leonard, Timlin, Atkinson (Payne, 85); Pigott (Weston, 80), Cassidy (Corr, 70)
Subs: P. Smith, Prosser, Hurst, Coulthirst